2012 ANICC Hillclimb Championship

This coming weekend will see the start of the 2012 ANICC Millers Oils Hillclimb Championship over the water in Northern Ireland. As with the Craigantlet British Hillclimb Championship round last year, Tony Gregory has been kind enough to send us a preview to this hotly contested championship which is run on the public roads of Northern Ireland:

Craigantlet Hillclimb Ulster Automobile Club

875 Metres of Fast and Furious Action

This Saturday 14th April the hills above Hollywood Co Down will be alive with the sounds of revving engines as the first round of the 2012 ANICC Millers Oils Hill Climb Championship gets underway on ‘Croft Hill climb‘. The hillclimb was first run in 1931 with the Thoroughbred and Sports Car Club taking over as organiser in 1989. Croft is the first of a triple header of hillclimbs for this area of Co Down with the Cultra and Craigantlet events happening during the summer months. Geographically these are the closest hillclimbs to a city centre anywhere in the UK and Belfast’s closest motorsport venue in continual use.

The Thoroughbred and Sports Car Club run event will be staged on public roads (necessitating a road closing order, one of those Northern Ireland nuances) as like all the other hillclimbs in the 10 event championship. The paddock will be based in lower Ballymenoch Road with the actual startline placed at the foot of Creighton Green Road. The drivers will be straight into action as the start fires the cars into a series of bends, with more substanual straights coming further up the hill. The finishing line will meet the competitors after only after 875 metres making Croft the shortest in the championship, after being shortened 3 times from its original length.

Setting the scene, the course is lined with hedgerows and the odd residential property with the later parts of the course lined with earth banks and fields. Various viewing spots can be accessed via public footpaths and as the course rises magnificent views of Belfast Lock are revealed. Luckily the competitors have their backs to the lock, taking away any distraction and the fact that you are nearly parallel to any planes on their approach into the city airport. In between the runs, the silence on the hill can be deafening as fishing boats and ferries come into your view.

Generally if accidents and the weather permits the competitors will at least get 2 practice and 3 timed runs up the hill. Each time it is just them against the clock with their cars categorized into 16 different classes which are mainly based on engine size, 2/4 wheel drive, modified or road going and specialised single seater racing and hillclimb cars. This eclectic mix in essence allows spectors to see anything from rally cars, race cars, vintage, classic and modern production models. One forward thinking and welcome championship regulation is that all competitors must marshal one event during the season which hopefully goes some small way to easing constant manning issues when running these type of events. It is anticipated that 50 plus cars will be in action with action getting underway around 10.00am.

Thank you so much for this brilliant piece Tony, and please let us know how the championship progresses throughout the season.


  1. Couldn’t say it better my self
    Cheers Andy kittle

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